Looking to Join UM::Autonomy?

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Join our mailing list and we'll let you know when our next meeting is! We'll also offer one-on-one meetings with teams you're interested in.

UM::Autonomy is an award-winning student project team from the University of Michigan. Each year we build an autonomous boat to participate in the RoboNation RoboBoat competition. The boat is completely designed and programmed by students and must complete a wide range of challenges that are designed to test its autonomous abilities. We aim to further the study of autonomous robotics at the University of Michigan by providing students with hands-on multidisciplinary design experience in artificial intelligence, image processing, navigation, naval architecture, and mechanical design. Each year we strive to push the physical and conceptual bounds of our autonomous vehicle.

The Competition

The RoboBoat competition is an international competition where students design, build, and compete with self-driving robotic boats, in a series of tests aimed at challenging teams through a variety autonomous (self-driving) tasks. We will be joined by 18 teams from 3 continents for the RoboBoat 2024 challenge.

The Boat

Rising from the ashes of defeat and disorder following the pandemic, UM::Autonomy's 2024 boat, The Phoenix, will soar to competition with renewed pride, a greater sense of togetherness, and a singular focus: to compete hard while having fun. Made entirely out of carbon fiber to reduce weight, the boat features two large thrusters for speed and an Intel i5-12450H CPU to make autonomous decisions.

Understanding the tighter time constraints of the 2024 season, a greater emphasis was placed on design validation and in-water testing, which was facilitated by maintaining an operable vessel and reducing design complexity from last year. This design strategy was complemented with a testing strategy that relocated the team permanently into its testing environment, made testing a weekly process from the start of the season, and allowed for multiple modes of testing to guarantee success.

The Team

UM::Autonomy has around 60 members across many different majors, including Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Robotics, Naval Architecture, Art & Design, and Business. We are organized into several teams: Artificial Intelligence, Electrical, Mechanical, Advanced Capabilities, and Business. The Artificial Intelligence team is broken up into distinct subteams, which are Navigation & Controls, Task Planning, and Computer Vision.

Interested in joining?

Each year we look for motivated, talented individuals looking to make a splash in the world of autonomous vehicles. UMA has no selection process or time commitment requirements. This year, we have bite-sized projects for new members to onboard more smoothly and get a glimpse on the type of work we do. If our team and our opportunities float your boat, sign up for our mailing list, and we'll provide you with more information about our meetings! If you have any more questions, check out our FAQ and don't be afraid to reach out to us at umautonomy@umich.edu!

Join Our Mailing List to Learn More

Join our mailing list and we'll let you know when our next meeting is! We'll also offer one-on-one meetings with teams you're interested in.


Thank you to our wonderful sponsors for your contributions!



Lastly, thank you to our alumni and friends for your donations during Giving Blue Day!

If you are interested in sponsoring UM::Autonomy, please email our 2023-24 administration team for more information.